Falcons top Panthers to stay unbeaten

·2 min read

BRADENTON — The visiting Saint Stephen’s Falcons scored just 13 seconds into the match and soared to a 4-1 victory over rival Bradenton Christian on Tuesday night in a Class 2A-District 10 battle between a pair of undefeated teams at Dan van der Koy Field.

The Panthers (4-1-2) were victims of an own goal early in the contest and the Falcons (6-0) took advantage of the unforced error.

Nolan Winterhalter made it 2-0 with 28:50 still remaining in the first half on a well-played header in front of the BCS goal. Fellow junior teammate Aquiles Gonzalez provided the solid assist.

Senior Alex Slowik sent a penalty kick past Panthers goalkeeper Josh Seagreaves less than seven minutes later for a 3-0 lead before the midway point of the first half.

Saint Stephen's Garrett LaFlamme battles Bradenton Christian's Italo Zagaceta and Nate Hedman, on right, for the control of the ball during Tuesday night's match at Bradenton Christian's Dan van der Koy Field.
Saint Stephen's Garrett LaFlamme battles Bradenton Christian's Italo Zagaceta and Nate Hedman, on right, for the control of the ball during Tuesday night's match at Bradenton Christian's Dan van der Koy Field.

“We were fighting from behind,” BCS coach Patrick Cunneen said. “They are an excellent team. We did not have the luck of the draw. We missed a couple of gimmees. That will take you down quickly.”

The Panthers launched 14 shots and Seagreaves collected seven blocks.

Saint Stephen’s tacked on another goal less than five minutes into the second half when Gonzalez dribbled his way to the left post and found the back of the net for a 4-0 lead.

The Falcons fired off 17 shots and junior goalkeeper Zhuoran Yin recorded six blocks.

Saint Stephen's Jack Holmes, on right, and Bradenton Christian's Rolando Velasquez battle for the ball during Tuesday night's game at Bradenton Christian's Dan van der Koy Field.
Saint Stephen's Jack Holmes, on right, and Bradenton Christian's Rolando Velasquez battle for the ball during Tuesday night's game at Bradenton Christian's Dan van der Koy Field.

“We have a really nice squad this year,” Falcons coach Blake Hoonhout said. “We have a nice ability to hold the ball and a nice ability to attack.”

Saint Stephen’s has outscored its foes by a whopping 42-4 so far this season.

“The guys have a lot of drive,” Hoonhout said. “We have these three captains (Slowik, Winterhalter and Chris Fields). They want it this year. They have come up through the middle school. They blend together and they are willing it.

“We have talent sprinkled in. And that’s pretty nice.”

Bradenton Christian's Italo Zagaceta with a header against Saint Stephen's Alexander Slowik, on right, during Tuesday night's match at Dan van der Koy Field in Bradenton.
Bradenton Christian's Italo Zagaceta with a header against Saint Stephen's Alexander Slowik, on right, during Tuesday night's match at Dan van der Koy Field in Bradenton.

Freshman Rolando Velasquez scored in the final minute of the game for the Panthers.”

Last season the Falcons defeated BCS in the district final only to lose the Panthers in a region semifinal match.

“We’ll see them in the district playoffs at some point, I’m sure,” Cunneen said. “And probably another game after that. We look forward to that.

“It’s fun to play them. Everybody enjoys it. The kids get fired up.”

This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Bradenton Christian stays unbeaten in boys soccer with win over Saint Stephen's

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